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Brídíní Óga Glenravel and Crosserlough aiming for two camogie wins inside a week

Séamas McAleenan

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NWP Recycling Ulster Junior camogie semi-finals

Sunday  October 8

12.30pm in Crosserlough: Crosserlough (Cavan) v Derrylaughan (Tyrone)

2pm in Glenravel : Brídíní Óga (Antrim) v Castlewellan (Down)

Brídíní Óga Glenravel and Crosserlough left it very late to edge home in last Sunday afternoon’s remaining NWP Recycling Ulster Junior camogie quarter-finals and the Antrim and Cavan sides are back in action in separate semi-finals this Sunday.

Indeed it will be a busy weekend for the north Antrim club with almost the same panel of players facing Ballyhegan in Armagh’s Athletic Grounds on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the Ulster Junior football championship.

Sunday’s camogie opponents Castlewellan would probably be more known for ladies’ football but they have been developing well at under-age level in camogie for a decade now. Longstone however were still tipped to defeat them in the Down decider.

Midfielders Aoife Keown and Caitriona Caldwell and Schools’ dual All-star Soracha McCartan really stepped up to the mark three weeks ago to see the Town over the line with an emphatic 5-7 to 1-3 score.

Brídíní Óga won the Junior B Ulster title last year with a very young squad and have done well to step up a level and then defeat Ballinderry with a late goal from Victoria Edgar last Sunday.

Victoria and Laoise McKenna have won back to back Schools’ All-stars over the past two seasons while a third Glenravel player, Ellen Hynds, was also in this year’s team.

Victoria, Ellen and Kirsty Laverty featured in the Antrim team that won the All-Ireland minor title earlier this year and completed back-to-back Ulster crowns. So they have a lot of talented youngsters making their way through.

However these are also the players that will be expected to perform for the football team and it will be difficult to get everything to align two days in a row.

Crosserlough were unlucky to lose to eventual winners Tullysaran last season, but they used a lot of luck on Sunday evening to come back from 2-4 to 0-4 down after 50 minutes and defeat another Armagh side Granemore.

Indeed their goal in the 56th minute from Niamh Boland still left them three points adrift, but Niamh O’Reilly and then Sinead McKenna both added two points to see them over the line in a frantic finish.

However while focus is on that escape, their defence did play very well and only conceded three scores from open play and six in total while the Finnegan sisters at midfield took a lot of pressure off the defence when the forward line was struggling to make headway.

Opponents Derrylaughin beat Clontibret 3-10 to 0-8 a week earlier, Caoimhe Rafferty (2) and Catherine Devlin the goal-scorers, and they look to be very strong this year.

Former Liatroim Fontenoys’ and Down defender Lisa McAliskey transferred at the start of the season and she has really settled the defence, while the return of Sinead O’Neill and Emma McShane from London has taken a lot of pressure off Emma Fitzgerald and Emma McAliskey.

The Tyrone side are on a roll having taken the Armagh Division 1 title this season and they are likely to start slight favourites against Crosserlough.

 

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